What they lack the most–Listening and Speaking

I am now entering my third week back in the classroom after having been out for three years.

Not a whole lot has changed.  Still have the same kind of kids and the same kind of issues.

But the one thing I am noticing is that my students’ listening and speaking skills are actually worse than their reading and writing skills. Maybe I just wasn’t as aware of this before but I can see there is a lot of work to be done in that area. It is taking our time away from the reading and writing.

I think we might confuse behaving with listening –definitely not the same. And as I like to have lots of sharing and discussions, I can clearly see that very few people are actually listening and taking in what others say. They are mostly waiting for their moment to talk, rather than respond.

I have been trying out some new techniques–I give a large index card each day (they keep the same one all week)–and throughout the class period I ask them to write certain things on them. I collect as they walk out. Then I can check off who is actively listening. I also use the cards as an informal assessment. At the end of class I ask them to write something on the card about what we have learned.

I will be trying out some new methods and will share those next week. In the meantime, I would love to hear what techniques you have for getting students to listen to one another and respond appropriately. Please share your ideas by commenting below or email me so I can include them in the newsletter next week.

Have a great week.



  1. Check out the work by Dr. Kate Kinsella. She provides many ways to teach students how to respond.

  2. I am a third year teacher, and I would just love for them to respond period.

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